TIPS TO SAVE MONEY
AND ENERGY THIS WINTER
If you thought it was expensive to pay for gas, you’ll have continued "$ticker Shock" when your home energy bills arrive this winter, as heating oil and natural gas prices skyrocket and electricity usage increases, predicts the Alliance to Save Energy.
The cause, states the Alliance, is basic Economics 101 Demand is greater than supply. What’s the average consumer to do to hold down costs to a more reasonable level while retaining comfort? The answer can be summed up in two words -- Energy Efficiency. It produces three benefits at once - cuts energy costs and air pollution while increasing home comfort.
The Alliance offers consumers tips to cut energy bills this winter:
- Heating accounts for the biggest chunk of winter energy bills. Make sure your furnace receives a professional "tune-up" each year. Clean or replace air filters once a month to help your unit run more efficiently.
- Cut related annual energy expenditures up to 30 percent. As heating and cooling equipment, appliances, computers and office equipment, windows, lighting fixtures, and consumer electronics break down or no longer meet your needs, replace them with products bearing the Energy Star label (symbol for energy efficiency) www.energystar.gov.
- Your home is probably leaking energy dollars. Make sure attic and/or ceilings are well insulated. Seal joints in attic air ducts and make sure they are well insulated too. (See the North America Insulation Manufactures Association web site www.naima.org for insulation details.)
- Plug other energy "leaks." Seal leaks between moving parts (between door and its frame) with weather-stripping. Fill leaks between nonmoving parts (between window frame and wall with caulking) and look for windows, glass doors, and skylight bearing the Energy Star label. - or get a free print copy at 1-888-878-3256.
- Tired of awakening to a chilly bedroom, so you leave on the heat all night? A programmable thermostat will automatically coordinate your home temperature with your daily and weekend patterns to increase comfort and monetary savings.
- Check out Energy Star washers which use less water and energy yet get clothes as clean as conventional units, plus dryers with moisture sensors, and high-efficiency refrigerators.
- Join the Alliance’s "4 for the planet" challenge. Just replace your four most used 100-watt incandescent bulbs with four comparable 23-watt compact fluorescent bulbs to save $82 over three years. If all U.S. households did the same, we’d save as much energy as is consumed by 7 million cars in one year!
- Plug surprising "leaks" from standby power. Did you know that your idle TV’s, VCR’s, cable boxes, CD players, cassette decks, cordless phones, burglar alarms, and microwaves continue to consume energy when switched off to keep display clocks lit and memory chips and remote controls working? That costs consumers $3 billion annually in energy costs. Energy Star electronic products use less energy in standby mode.
- Don’t like coming home to a dark house on those short winter days? Instead of leaving lights on, put timers on a few of the lights in your home, or install motion detectors on exterior floodlights to improve your home security. After you get inside, the sensor will "remember" to turn the lights off.
- Activate "sleep" features on computers and office equipment that power down when the equipment is on but not in use for a while. Turn off equipment during long periods of nonuse to cut costs and improve longevity.
- Let the sun help heat your home by keeping blinds of sun-exposed windows open in the day time and closed at night.
- Upgrade Your Oil Heat System -- New oil heat systems are generally more efficient than older units and typically reduce heating oil consumption by 15 to 25 percent. However, in a 23-state field test, the Alliance demonstrated that older oil fired boilers and furnaces can achieve similar savings if they are upgraded with a properly installed frame retention head burner. These burners strictly control the amount of excess air that is used for combustion, resulting in a hotter flame and increased energy savings
- To avoid $ticker $hock at the pump, select fuel-efficient cars and the most fuel efficient SUVs and urge manufactures to use fuel efficient technologies for SUVs. Consider new hybrid cars. Improve fuel economy of existing or new cars by proper maintenance and adequate tire inflation and driving a little slower.
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Written by: Alliance to Save Energy
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